How L.A. is tackling the police recruitment challenge

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Name: Karli Stander

Title: Deputy Director of the Innovation Team

City: Los Angeles

When it comes to the struggles cities face recruiting and retaining police officers, Los Angeles is not alone. But with a force of 10,000 officers, the scale of L.A.’s challenge is enormous — the city must hire more than 500 new officers a year just to keep pace with retirements. Karli Stander is on the front lines of the city’s efforts to get more high-quality and diverse candidates to not only apply for the job but complete what can be a complex hiring process. One set of interventions she helped lead involved testing behavioral “nudges” to help candidates navigate the different steps. For example, many recruits used to drop off before submitting a personal history form required for their background check. By text-messaging them personalized reminders to complete the paperwork, Stander and her team increased the number of people submitting the form by 15 percent. (The experiment was featured in a report on police recruitment published last week by the Behavioral Insights Team.) Another project Stander shepherded, known as Pledge to Patrol, acts as an apprenticeship program for potential applicants who are interested in police work but are too young to apply. It not only has produced a new pipeline of talent for the LAPD — one participant just graduated from the Police Academy — but may become a template for hiring young people in other city departments facing a retirement wave, like Public Works. “The question is how we use an apprenticeship model to provide opportunities for residents who are interested in public service, but don’t have the experience or a college education.”

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Celebrating public sector progress and innovation in cities around the world. Run by @BloombergDotOrg’s Government Innovation program. bloombergcities.org

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